Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

At Times – Life Is About The Mercy Rule

Psalm 30:10

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.

Mercy is something that is rare. Most of us – operating in our human nature – tend to want fairness – or even revenge – but mercy is rare. When I was umpiring baseball – we had a mercy rule in recreational league play. If a team was up by 10 runs after a certain inning of play – they had won the game – we didn’t have to play any longer. This mercy rule kept the team that was being beaten from being beaten by even more – and maybe destroy all of their confidence for future games.

What would a mercy rule look in real life? In golf it might be called a mulligan. We like do-overs in our world – a chance to improve on a mistake or a failure. Yet – often – we are reluctant to give mercy to others. It is hard to offer mercy – maybe because we feel little mercy has been shown us.

I’ve often written on this blog about how salvation is through grace. We all deserve hell – yet because of God’s great mercy – He gave us a free gift – salvation – through the shed blood of Jesus – if we place our trust and life in His hands. Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Continue reading

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Look At Evangelism

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those who know me well – know that above all else – I would label myself an evangelical. As a Christian pastor I believe that Jesus is Lord and that there is no other way to salvation except through Him. You could call me a John 14:6 kind of guy. In this passage Jesus tells us what is required to go to heaven. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Having said that – the passage for today has a lot of meaning. Today’s passage is part of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 – Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A number of pastors and church leaders as well as church members read my blog page each day. Are marching orders as pastors – as Christians – is The Great Commission. Because of the way some go about evangelism and the way that some have turned away from evangelism – in some circles evangelism has become a dirty word. It is anything but! Continue reading

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smile – What Brings a Smile to Your Face?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals (even a win would be great at times). The opening day win in the 11th inning by the Birds Monday brought a smile to my face. Still another might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is The Rapture?

Matthew 24:36

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Have we read anything lately about the rapture. Do we even know what the rapture represents? I first posted this devotional thought on May 21st – 2011. According to fundamentalist Harold Camping – that was the day he predicted for the Rapture. The Rapture is a belief that the saints of Christ – true believers – will be raised before the end of time arrives. A key passage some use in their teaching about the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Here’s what I believe – Christ will return – Christ will receive His church (true believers) – and the end times will unfold. I just wasn’t sold on Harold Camping’s prediction in 2011 nor of anyone’s ability to predict the date today of the rapture or the end of time. Nor what order things will occur.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Continue reading

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As For Me And Mine!

Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

RayMcDFamily traditions – they create memories. In a few months my family will try to enjoy a family weekend without mom or dad. Our family traditionally returns to my mother’s home town for a family reunion. I have many memories – growing up – revolving around this annual trek. My children do as well. Other families have barbecues or go to a ball game or open the pool on this weekend. What are your memories for Memorial weekend?

Family traditions – they create memories. What memories can you remember? Special memories developed around what your family did/does on the 4th of July (cookout at my brother’s home) – Labor Day (wear work clothes to church) – Thanksgiving (serving meals) – Christmas (family night at our home) – and other special days. What about something special for your birthday or anniversary (some even celebrate the anniversary of their first date). I know someone who makes memories at Disney – not only annually but often each year! Continue reading

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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